Science Fictionality and Speculative Futures / Workshop
Title: Science Fictionality and Speculative Futures / CoF Workshop
Instructor Bodhisattva Chattopadhyay
Location MMAG Art Foundation / Amman
Date 19-26 August 2019.
Objective The objective of the workshop is to discuss ways of working with the speculative imaginary and speculative futures with artist residents. A secondary objective is to introduce some thematic concerns related to The Kalpana collective’s ongoing project Speculation: Desert / Maps and Prototypes of Science Fictional Presences and discuss the desert imaginary in speculative fiction.
Structure The workshop unfolds as five half day (3 hours each; total 15 hours) thematically structured sessions. On the final day (3 hours) participants will be developing extended new speculations. On all days, participants will also be invited to play specially selected boardgames in the evenings that will push them to think with speculative futures.
The sessions are arranged as follows:
Day 0 / Introduction / General introduction to the course, participant backgrounds, and workshop expectations.
Day 1 / Speculating / The first introduces the theme of speculation, and what role speculation can play in imagining alternative and more egalitarian futures. Through a series of readings and viewings of classic and contemporary speculative texts, our goal will be to explore, identify and find reasons for why we might wish to think with a genre such as speculative/science fiction for our creative practices.
Day 2 / Prototyping / The second shows different contemporary strategies of prototyping futures, and building a toolkit to work with the speculative for arts and research.
Day 3 / Imagining / The third takes us through several works and manifestos that can serve as cues for our creative practices.
Day 4 / Building / To make is to know, so the fourth session will be used to develop and critique several starting speculative scripts, or incorporate speculative themes in existing projects.
Workshop participants are expected to have gone through the assigned materials before the workshop starts. During the workshop, participants are invited to comment on one or more of these materials, discuss the themes, what worked for them and what did not, and how these ideas connect to other things they have read or worked with.
Day 1 / Speculating; or why to do what is to be done
Margaret Atwood. 2009. “Time Capsule Found on the Dead Planet.” The Guardian. 26 September 2009. https://www.theguardian.com/books/2009/sep/26/margaret-atwood-mini-science-fiction
Ursula LeGuin. 1973 (1991). “The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas (Variations on a theme by William James).” Utopian Studies 2 (1/2):1-5. https://www.jstor.org/stable/20719019
N. K. Jemisin. 2018. “The Ones Who Stay and Fight.” How Long Till Black Future Month? Orbit.
J. G. Ballard. 1962. “Which Way to Inner Space?” New Worlds Science Fiction 118 (5/1962): 2-3 & 116-118.
Vandana Singh. 2008. “A Speculative Manifesto.” The Woman Who Thought She Was a Planet and Other Stories. Zubaan Books.
Stanislaw Lem. 1981. “Metafantasia: The Possibilities of Science Fiction (Metafantasia: Les possibilités de la science-fiction)”. Translated by Etelka de Laczay and Istvan Csicsery-Ronay. Science Fiction Studies 8(1): 54-71. https://www.jstor.org/stable/4239383
Historical Turns // Ken Liu. 2011 (2016). “The Man Who Ended History: A Documentary.” The Paper Menagerie and Other Stories. Head of Zeus. https://kenliu.name/binary/liu_the_man_who_ended_history.pdf
Historical Turns // Larissa Sansour and Søren Lind. 2015. In the Future They Ate From the Finest Porcelain. Film.
Historical Turns // Vandana Singh. 2015 (2018). “Ambiguity Machines: An Examination.” Ambiguity Machines and Other Stories. Small Beer Press.
Day 2 / Prototyping; or how to think up what to do
Bruce Sterling. 2009. “Design Fiction.” Interactions May-June 2009: 21-24. http://interactions.acm.org/archive/view/may-june-2009/cover-storydesign-fiction1
Brian David Johnson. 2011. Science Fiction Prototyping. Morgan & Claypool Publishers. Extract.
Anthony Dunne and Fiona Raby. 2013. Speculative Everything: Design, Fiction, and Social Dreaming. The MIT Press. Extract.
Stuart Candy & Kelly Kornet. 2017. “A Field Guide to Ethnographic Experiential Futures.” https://www.researchgate.net/publication/317837102_A_Field_Guide_to_Ethnographic_Experiential_Futures
Stuart Candy & Kelly Kornet. 2019. “Turning Foresight Inside Out: An Introduction to Ethnographic Experiential Futures” Journal of Futures Studies 23(3): 3–22. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/331857932_Turning_Foresight_Inside_Out_An_Introduction_to_Ethnographic_Experiential_Futures
Rebecca Onion. 2008. “Reclaiming the Machine: An Introductory Look at Steampunk in Everyday Practice.” Neo-Victorian Studies 1(1): 138-163. http://www.rebeccaonion.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/OnionSteampunk.pdf
Desert Discussions // Anonymous. 2011. Desert. Armin Press. Extract. http://theanarchistlibrary.org/library/anonymous-desert
Desert Discussions // Corey S. Pressman. 2018. “Divided Light.” The Weight of Light: A Collection of Solar Futures. Edited by Joey Eschrich and Clark A. Miller. 141-155. https://csi.asu.edu/books/weight/
Desert Discussions // Paolo Soleri. 1969 (2006). Arcology: The City in the Image of Man. Cosanti Press. Extract. https://www.organism.earth/library/document/76
Day 3 / Imagining; or how to do what is to be done
Samuel Delany. 1978 (2009). “About 5750 Words.” The Jewel Hinged Jaw: Notes on the Language of Science Fiction. Wesleyan University Press. 1-15.
Geoff Ryman. 2004 (2006). “The Mundane Manifesto.” New York Review of Science Fiction 226 (June 2006): 4–5. https://sfgenics.wordpress.com/2013/07/04/geoff-ryman-et-al-the-mundane-manifesto/
Martine Syms. 2013. “The Mundane Afrofuturist Manifesto.” Rhizome 17 December 2013. https://rhizome.org/editorial/2013/dec/17/mundane-afrofuturist-manifesto/
Ursula LeGuin. 1977 (1982). “Do-it-yourself Cosmology.” The Language of the Night: Essays on Fantasy and Science Fiction. Berkeley Books. 118-122.
Futures and Futuring // John Akomfrah. 1996. The Last Angel of History. Film.
Futures and Futuring // Wanuri Kahiu. 2009. Pumzi. Film.
Futures and Futuring // Biju Vishwanath. 2014. Shadow Tree. Film. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_1WOWbgi-wU
Futures and Futuring // Jason Wishnow. 2014. The Sandstorm. Film. https://vimeo.com/104436803
Day 4 / Building; or verum ipsum factum
Participants will be introduced to the primary elements of story and plot development, and then encouraged to produce a new work of flash fiction.